Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Volleyball Today

My parents are here & we're going to Greenville this afternoon to watch Mary Lee play at Hampton Park. Even Andrew gets to go - he originally thought that he wouldn't be able to, but his rehearsal time was changed.

It is hard to believe that she's playing her last game at HP today. I remember when she was a new player on the JV team and was put in late in one game. It was her turn to serve, and she underhanded a gentle lob up from the line. Everyone in the gym thought it wasn't going to clear the net - including the HP girls. Well, it barely went over and they were caught unaware. She went on to lob five points, each one misleading both teams, as well as the fans, by barely going over the net! The other team finally caught on, but it took them awhile. And now she hits power overhand serves, and has to hold back just to keep them from going so far that they go out of bounds at the back.

Pastor Brown coached JV back then, as he is again this year, and put her on as manager/player. He told me he wasn't sure if she could do it (this was in 7th grade) but he saw a little spark in her that made him decide to give her a try--and she's been playing ever since, for four different coaches on both JV and varsity teams. He said that she is his inspiration for putting some girls on the team that he is not really sure about but thinks they just might have what it takes.

It is a joy to watch my daughter, who has sat her share of pine throughout the years, be a key player on her team.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Journals to Grade

I am sitting here looking at a huge stack of papers that really need to get graded today as tomorrow senior journals come in for the second time this year and that will be plenty to keep me busy.

The second set of ten paragraphs is the group on "School," and, among other titles such as "Special Elementary Teacher" and "The Hardest Test I Ever Took," one of the entries is titled "Exceptional Chapel Speaker." I'll never forget a young man by the name of Brian, whose entry for that topic started as follows:

"The exceptional chapel speaker is the right one. The left one has a buzz. . ."

I still share that one with new senior classes each year.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Workshop Experience

I went to a workshop at the convention that was supposed to be a panel discussion about how to balance family, school, and work without going crazy or getting bitter. One lady asked a question, in tears, and it was obvious that she was at the end of her rope: "I have four children from junior high down to age three and I teach at our Christian preschool. How do I find time for personal devotions?" Good question. But one of the panelists, a sweet lady who had already revealed that she had only had one child, grown, said somewhat aghast, "Oh, you have to make time. It's the most important thing you do in your day. [agreed so far--but the clincher is coming:] I get up at 6:00 every day and have my devotions until 6:45 and wouldn't let anything get in the way of that." You could see the poor mother just withering. Four kids to get up and ready and she just doesn't have that kind of time. She was still upset, and on my way out the door after the workshop I leaned over to her and said "Sometimes you might get five minutes and a prayer to the Lord for strength. If that's the case, it's OK. Do what you can." I just had to say something to give some hope to this overwhelmed lady who needed help, not more guilt heaped upon her.

One of the most liberating realizations in my Christian life was that God is not a judge who will punish me if I happen to miss a day of devotions. In our zeal to get people to establish good habits of daily Bible reading (yes, a good thing) I fear we have imposed that impression on people.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

At the Convention

At the teachers' convention in Myrtle Beach. Mary Lee is here with me enjoying the hotel with a friend of hers while we attend sessions. It's a good thing they hit the beach, pool, and hot tub yesterday afternoon immediately upon getting here - today is rainy and windy. The best part of being at the convention is seeing people from years ago and catching up!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Morning Shopping

First of all, an addendum to the previous post: I forgot the biggest DOWN of all! My dishwasher is kaput! It made a really, really weird noise the other night and Mike said it's had it & don't use it any more. To the best of our knowledge it was original with the house, which was 17 years old when we moved in, so it's done its time. That was the one disappointment when we moved here--the plan was to swap the dishwasher out with the new one Mike had bought me about a year before we moved from the old house (2000). Well, the old house sold and closed fairly quickly and with his weird work schedule we just couldn't get it done. So. . .it was back to a loud and creaky dishwasher for the past eight years. But it worked. Oh well, it's the loss of a convenience but certainly not a necessity.

Some random thoughts from a Saturday morning of shopping:

--I stopped at a yard sale and a little boy was seated at a stand with a cooler next to him. I commented, "You're selling drinks, are you" and he immediately ran yelling to his brother, "We've got a customer! We've got a customer!" Well, I wasn't really thirsty but after that much excitement, how could I let the kid down?!!

--I stopped at another yard sale where some little girls were selling candy bars for a fundraiser. I asked them if I gave them a dollar, would they just take one of their candy bars and split it between them and eat it for me? Their eyes got wide as they solemnly nodded. The mother mouthed "Thank you" to me, and I remembered times people were kind to my children and how much I appreciated that kind of thing. As I walked back to the car, I could hear them whispering, "Which one should we get?" "Do you want M&M's or Snickers?" It was a feel-good moment.

--The Food Lion a stone's throw from our house is a nice little store - I like it - but some of their deals, designed to bring people in the store, are so good that I wonder how long they can stay in business. A produce manager said they're prepared to stick it out for five years even if they lose money. They sent me four weeks' worth of "spend $15, get $5 off, as well as another coupon for some various product each week. A couple of weeks ago it was for a free BBQ rotisserie chicken. Quite a free offer!

--Why do people not push their carts either back to the store or to the corrals in the parking lot? How many times have I tried to pull into a parking place only to see that the reason the space is empty is because a cart is right in the middle of it. It would be so simple to move it to the proper place. I remember as a child when you had to take the cart back to the store - there were no corrals. But it seems that the more conveniences that are provided for people, the less considerate they get.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricanes, Damage, and Good Sense

Why are huge cities allowed to develop when they are close enough to a shoreline that they can easily be impacted by hurricanes? Why do major insurance companies not simply refuse to underwrite shoreline properties when they know that loss is not if, but when? Why does the government step in to protect properties that private insurance no longer wants to cover? Why was a major city like New Orleans developed that was below sea level? A port town is understandable, but major universities? research hospitals? a large business district? All protected from ocean waters by manmade levees. It makes no sense.

Update 9/15--And as my mom so ably commented: Why do people expect to be rescued when they refuse the orders to evacuate?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My daughter plays volleyball

Last night my dear friend Nancy and I drove to near Gainesville, GA, to watch our varsity girls' team play in a tournament. I even got a little movie of Mary Lee serving - naturally, with this old camera, it ended right before she got in the second serve, but it's better than nothing:

The first team we played looked young and like they might not be much of a match for our girls. They turned out to be surprisingly good (mostly due to one girl in particular who could hit anything that came anywhere near her) but our girls beat them in a game that we won fairly easily but was still good competition. The second team looked very athletic, especially during warmups, and the consensus of the parents on the bleachers was that this team would be a bigger challenge. Our first girl goes up to serve, and this other team watches the ball fall on their side of the court. Our first girl served the first nine points. The other team did a little better as the match went on, but they would not even have been good competition for a JV team, even with their apparent athletic build and size. You just can't tell until you get into a game what it's going to be like.